The Jesus of history

For many people Jesus! or Christ! are just exclamations. Yet Jesus Christ has shifted the history of our planet as no other man ever has. He emerged from the riverbed of human history and changed its flow forever. He is not a philosophy, an ideal or myth; those who lived with him are adamant that he walked, ate, died and rose at their side.

The Jesus of mystery

Yet at the heart of this story is an irresolvable paradox. His first followers were blown away by the shocking manner of his death; crucifixion was designed to be the most degrading and disgusting of punishments. They found comfort in the belief that God had allowed, even chosen, this outcome as they reflected on the words of the prophet Isaiah, “he was despised and rejected by others; a man of suffering and acquainted with infirmity.” (Is 53.3)

These same men, nevertheless, recorded Jesus’ extraordinary claims of his relationship with God. Not only did he call God my Father, but he claimed to come from him, to speak in his name, and would send God’s inner Spirit down on them when he had returned to the Father. (Jn 16.21,26; 17.25-27)

You can believe he was delusional, a schizophrenic, or that his disciples cobbled together this unbelievable paradox. Yet he still strides through history, to this day as a figure who cannot be ignored except at the price of human diminishment and impoverishment.

Father Neil Vaney

Next steps

This writing is based on the content of ‘What Catholics Believe’, Booklet 3, ‘Jesus Christ’ referencing page 5. Should you like to read more just click either of the links below to download ‘Booklet 3’ or the complete set of ‘What Catholics Believe’.